Ginseng has a long history of use in Asian medicine as an aphrodisiac. Researchers looking for potential changes in hormones in laboratory animals that were fed North American ginseng found no changes in male sex hormones, but instead found that ginseng significantly enhanced male libido and copulatory performance. There is also interest in the use of the root in the treatment of sexual dysfuntion, suxh as erectile disorder.
Researchers have also turned their attention to studies with Ontario-grown ginseng in hormone-dependent cancers, such as breast and prostate cancer.
In the laboratory, cultured human breast cancer cells that were exposed to an extract of NAG inhibited the growth of the cancer cells. This test was performed with two types of breast cancer cells; one that had receptors for estrogen, and one that did not.Ginseng inhibited the growth of both types of breast cancer cells. Similarly, ginseng inhibited cancer cell growth in tests with two types of human prostate cancer cells: ones that were testosterone –responsive and those that were not. Ginseng extracts have also been shown to slow tumor growth in animal studies. This effect was enhanced when Ontario-grown ginseng was used in combination with a common chemotherapy drug called doxorubicin.
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